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The Kings And Queens Of Hip Hop, Now On Stamps

Madina, a British artist and designer, has launched a collection of stamps featuring hip hop artists of the golden era of the genre, in the 1980s-90s.

All photos: Madina

For a very long time — until 2005 in fact — stamps in the United Kingdom only depicted members of the Royal Family. Except for a few lucky ones, like the Beatles, Freddie Mercury or a couple of successful athletes, the Royal Mail stuck to this policy.

By contrast in the United States, over 800 people have appeared on American stamps since the first one was issued in 1847. These include a wide range of historical figures from presidents to inventors, scientists, actors and musicians.

But never has a stamp featured a hip hop artist. Some might say there are better role models out there than a music genre that has been known to advocate crime or drugs — but hip hop also puts forward the path to success, fighting for one's dreams and for justice, and it may even help cure depression.

This is why British designer and artist Madina launched “Golden Era of Hip Hop Stamps,” his own collection that pays tribute to 42 artists that “propelled the genre from humble beginnings in the block parties in New York to the global phenomenon we see today,” he explains on his website.

Madina was inspired by Public Enemy’s 2012 album and song “Most expand=1] of My Heroes Still Don’t Appear on No Stamp”, which is also a lyric that appears in the group’s classic 1989 track “Fight expand=1] the Power”.

“My designs are largely influenced by hip hop, which inspired the ‘Golden Era’ hip hop stamp collection,” Brighton-based Madina explains. “The design has been acknowledged and well received by a number of the hip hop artists, such as Chuck D, Kool Keith, Maseo and Keith Murray, among others,” he adds.

The 42 artists in the collection also include Notorious B.I.G., J Dilla, Ice Cube, 2Pac or Rakim. The stamp designs are also available on hoodies, t-shirts and posters. Madina now warns: If you still think ""most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps', a few words of advice, "Don’t believe the hype.""

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